My Breastfeeding Experience – Part 2

The saga continues…

I saw another lactation consultant shortly after my last entry about breastfeeding. She assessed everything and admitted that she can’t do anything for me; the baby’s latch was good, his suck was strong and my supply wasn’t a concern. The baby was just lazy. Jarvis would breastfeed for a few minutes and either let go or fall asleep. He got used to bottles and likely preferred the faster flow and little effort required. Her recommendation: keep trying and maybe he’ll just stick with it one day.

The following week, the paediatrician said the same thing. Keep at it and maybe he’ll get it.

I was really hoping for a more concrete answer from either of them. Was that all I could do? Just sit and wait? With all the information I gathered, I decided to try a few more things over the following weeks:

  • Nipple shield: I thought that since baby preferred an artificial nipple, maybe he’d like the nipple shield. Nope. Same result. He unlatched after a few minutes.
  • Tube-feeding: I thought this would trick him into thinking that he could get a faster flow, so I successfully tube-fed for a few days and then tried breastfeeding without the tube. Same result.
  • Syringe feeding: Same result as tube feeding.
  • Breastfeeding only when he was really hungry: I thought if he was extremely hungry, he’d put in the effort to feed himself. This didn’t work. It’s difficult enough to keep a calm baby on my breast, let alone a screaming, teary-eyed baby.
  • Switch feeding: I thought by alternating back and forth between breasts every few minutes, this would keep the baby awake and alert. Unfortunately, the little guy hates my right breast for some reason. He just won’t take it.
  • Take Fenugreek and Mother’s Milk tea: Some say these help increase milk production. I haven’t noticed an affect on mine.

All the while, I was pumping in an effort to increase my milk supply or at the very least, keep it stable.

Frustrated that nothing was helping, I decided to breastfeed only during the day — forget night-time breastfeeding. Sleep was too important. It continued like this with no progress, until one feeding session last week. He stayed on my breast for 20 full minutes! And they weren’t little insignificant sucks; they were real sucks with pauses and swallowing. I was so proud of my little baby. I put him down to sleep when he was done, assuming he was full. Sadly, he wasn’t satisfied. I tried to put him back on my breast and he just wouldn’t take it. Feeling dejected, I, yet again, mixed some formula in a bottle and fed my hungry baby. I did make progress, but very little.

It’s been a rollercoaster since then. Sometimes he would stay on my breast for more than 5 minutes and actually get milk, and other times he would just give up. And at times, it’d be worse than just ‘give up’; he’d let go wailing and screaming, turning red, like he was regressing. I’m running out of ideas. I’m starting to feel defeated and find myself feeling jealous when someone in my mommies group would nonchalantly pull out a breast and feed her baby. I’m jealous that their baby is always getting the best nutrition. I’m jealous that they don’t have to lug around bottles, formula, expressed breastmilk and a pump. I’m jealous that their days aren’t consumed by washing bottles and pumping sessions. I absolutely hate the feeling.

I have one last idea: start taking Domperidone, a prescription drug that is known to increase milk production. I’m hoping this will actually work, and baby will appreciate an increased flow. If not, I’d at least be able to pump enough to exclusively feed expressed milk rather than formula.

Here’s to my Hail Mary pass.

4 thoughts on “My Breastfeeding Experience – Part 2

  1. Be kind to yourself during this time. Your baby will do well whatever feeding path you end up on…the intense pressure to exclusively breastfeed is causing you stress at a time when you should just be able to enjoy little Jarvis. I went through a very similar experience with my first, including some trauma inducing sessions with Dr Jack Newman….I really regret all the pressure I put on myself during that time. Give yourself permission to do what works for your family and don’t let the BF pressure ruin your days!

  2. Hi there, just came across ur post and thought I’d add “my two cents.” Please take it or leave it or maybe you’ve already tried it. I just thought I would throw it out there. Sounds like you’re babe could be impatient with your let down. Like you mentioned he’s used to the imidiate let down of a bottle. What if you pumped just prior to feeding to stimulate your let down and then pop him on after the 5ish minute pump. Not sure if it would work but like I said, thought I’d throw it out there. And don’t be too hard on yourself. Breastfeeding is not always that easy natural process we think it should be. Babies are born with the ability to suck and moms produced milk, but it’s not always easy to put them together. No one ever tells you that.

  3. Thanks for your support, Alison and Kristy.

    @Kristy – Thanks for the suggestion. I did try that already, and I saw/heard he was getting milk, but he still gave up early.

  4. Hey Monica,

    Just came across your blog and it’s a great read. We went to high school together and it’s nice to see you doing so well. Your baby is beautiful! I went through the same issues as you and have been exclusively pumping for 7 months now. There are times when it is difficult and extremely time consuming especially since I single pump because my breasts dont produce the same amount when i double pump. I dont know anyone else who exclusively pumped so i felt a little alone going through this experience. If you go this route or have any questions feel free to email me :)

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